Slideshow Incredible shrinking bank populations

Published
  • April 13 2017, 12:15pm EDT
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The number of U.S. banks has fallen by 24% since the end of 2010, a result of mergers, failures and a dearth of de novo activity. Here are the 10 states with the biggest declines as a percentage of total banks headquartered in the state, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

Arizona (58% decline)

When the housing bubble burst, it put a world of hurt on Arizona’s banks. The number of banks based there fell from 40 in 2010 to 17 on Dec. 31, including six failures. Nine other banks elected to sell themselves. Heartland Financial in Dubuque, Iowa, led by CEO Lynn Fuller, scooped up two of those institutions: First Scottsdale Bank and Heritage Bank.

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Nevada (41% decline)

Nevada’s banking industry was also stung by foreclosures and the financial crisis. In recent years, the state’s banks have suffered from waning demand for commercial real estate loans. The state has lost a dozen banks since 2010, with 17 banks based in the state today.

Florida (40% decline)

Failures were fairly common in Florida in the aftermath of the financial crisis, particularly in markets where banks made a lot of loans for condos. In fact, 27 banks have failed there since 2010. Florida recovered, spurring a number of out-of-state financial institutions to make acquisitions to enter or expand in the state, which still has 149 banks.

North Carolina (38% decline)

Private equity entered North Carolina soon after the financial crisis ended, pumping millions of dollars into healthy banks to pursue M&A and, in some cases, recapitalizing institutions that were on the ropes. PE-backed institutions such as BNC Bancorp and Yadkin Financial bought several in-state rivals before agreeing recently to sell themselves. The state had 62 banks at Dec. 31, a noticeable decline from 100 in late 2010.

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Washington (38% decline)

Washington has been home to a number of acquisitive banks, including Columbia Banking System, Banner Corp., AmericanWest and HomeStreet. Banner bought AmericanWest in late 2015. Overall, the number of banks in the state fell to 49 on Dec. 31 from 79 six years earlier.

Maryland (38% decline)

F.N.B. Corp. in Pittsburgh, led by CEO Vincent Delie Jr., did its part to reduce the number of Maryland banks, buying OBA Financial, BCSB Bancorp and Annapolis Bancorp between 2013 and 2014. First Mariner in Baltimore changed hands after a group recapitalized it in 2014. Overall, 30 banks have been sold, and four have failed since 2010.

Rhode Island (36% decline)

Tiny Rhode Island only had 14 banks in 2010; it now has nine. The good news is that the state has suffered no failures in the past six years. The state’s biggest seller was the $1.6 billion-asset Bancorp Rhode Island, which was bought in 2012 by Brookline Bancorp in Massachusetts.

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California (34% decline)

California has lost nearly 100 banks since 2010, with 178 institutions remaining at the end of last year. The decline includes six failures and 92 traditional acquisitions. Some sellers have been large, including the $32 billion-asset City National, which sold to Royal Bank of Canada, and the $22 billion-asset OneWest Bank, which was bought by CIT Group.

Idaho (33% decline)

Acquirers in neighboring states came knocking for banks in Idaho, where only 12 local banks exist today. Columbia Banking System bought Intermountain Community Bancorp in 2014 and Cascade Bancorp in Oregon acquired Home Federal a year earlier. Syringa Bank is the only institution to fail in Idaho since 2010.

South Carolina (33% decline)

Georgia may have more failures since 2010, with 40, but it was edged out on this list by its neighbor to the north. South Carolina had 56 banks on Dec. 31, losing six to failures and 16 to traditional M&A. A notable disappearance was CertusBank in Greenville, which was dismantled shortly after poor financial performance and claims of lavish spending led to the ouster of its founding executives.